IOL Sport writer, Lungani Zama.
I’m sure I wasn’t alone in staying up late on Friday night, to observe that curious Vegas nonsense dubbed ‘The Match’.

Truth be told, I fell asleep after about eight holes, and literally woke up with the whole thing under lights, and Phil Mickelson suddenly having a four-footer to beat Tiger Woods and walk into the desert with $9-million.

America being America, the cash was right there, too. Just in case you didn’t believe they had it.

The amounts of money alone were vast. $200 000 for a birdie on the first hole. A million bucks for a hole-out from the fairway. It was a crass show of the haves and the have nots. Vegas is Floyd Mayweather country; an endless and unapologetic parade of flash and wads of cash. Of course, Mayweather was involved in the hype for a Thanksgiving match-play hit and giggle between two rivals whose animosity has worn off with age.

If this was Woods against Sergio Garcia, and they were settling their differences, there might have been more of a sense of this being a contest.

Instead, the players shadow-boxed. Mic’ed up, they shared awkward platitudes about Samuel L Jackson and the weather. And the course. And kids being away from home.

And ‘nice shot’.

It wasn’t a contest. Not a fight, or a scrap or even a shootout. This was a public viewing of two dads playing golf, and allowing Big Brother a close-up view.

Sadly, even golf has dipped into the reality TV realm now. It’s ridiculous. Try as they might, both legends couldn’t really be bothered to shift through the gears and find their best form.

They have been sitting at home for a month, and probably stuffed themselves full of turkey on the Thursday. This wasn’t serious. It wasn’t sincere.

It was a very public ‘stuff you’ to those who squeal about the obscene amounts golfers earn for hitting a little ball around.

One million dollars for a tournament win? Ten million for the FedEx Cup?

How about $9-million between mates, just to emphasise how vast the chasm is between those on the breadline - and the tigers who dictate the food chain.

There were all sorts of celebrities roped in to bring some sort of stardust into this whole farce. Samuel L Jackson and Charles Barkley had a running skit of hacking golfers. It was all rather try-hard.

Perhaps it made more sense in America. After all, Thanksgiving is their thing. Their tradition, and their annual celebration of all things stars and stripes.

Perhaps, then, it makes absolute sense to parade their two ageing stars, pay them money they don’t need, and let the world watch on as of it was a price fight down the strip at the MGM Grand.

This was as tedious as Mayweather against Conor McGregor. It wasn’t real sport, because it didn’t really matter to any of the combatants.

Mayweather made sure he didn’t lose. Because of pride.

Mickelson made sure he was the victor. Because of pride.

In the real world, McGregor became richer than he had ever dreamed. And, of course, in the real golfing world, Mickelson can only dream of matching Tiger’s haul.

In the real world, Tiger Woods doesn’t mutter ‘dammit’ when he misses his target by 60 feet. He swears, and broadcasters wince. That is the tell.

The Match was such a farce it might as well have been scripted. Who knows, it might have been ...

The only way it could have been more vulgar was of Donald Trump himself was on hand to hand over the loot, and tell all of us how wonderful his America is.

And that if he really, really, really tried, he could probably best both players. But he has a country to embarrass.

Actually, that would have been kinda fitting.


Sunday Tribune

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